If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

I like the creations of Pablo Neruda, he writes naturally, and truthfully. Like in this poem: at first read this might sound like he’s being selfish – “if you don’t love me, i won’t love you either”, and in the second read, it might sound like, he’s being lazy or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But, in the end, i came to realize that he’s being practical. This is the truth. Love needs support. If you love me, then i can love you. If you love starts fading away, i can try once, twice, thrice… to bring it back, but this can’t go on for long. After that, its not love… it’s regret, its pity, its anger, its frustration, its obsession, its sympathy, its everything else but love! This poem is straightforward. The poet doesn’t try to hide his emotions, even though they sound harsh. I like the tone with which the words speak out.

 

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine

                                                                – Pablo Neruda

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